Last week, Active Directory integration was released to all MC networks. For customers that manage their corporate directories through AD, a local server can now be used as a single source of truth for phone users.
Active Directory is the most commonly used directory software in the world, and by supporting it on the MC product line, IT administrators will have one less dependency to worry about when managing their communications system.
As always, this new integration was released right to the dashboard, with no need for additional licensing: just another example of how Meraki continually works to increase the value of our solution.
This week, the hardware team behind the MC74 were recognized in Essen, Germany, at the 2017 Red Dot Gala. The Red Dot Design Award is an international award for the best product designs, design firms, and design concepts around the world. This was the first time Meraki products were entered, and we were honored to be awarded in the Product Design category.
The MC74 was chosen as a winner out of more than 5,500 products from 54 countries. The winners were chosen by a jury of 39 experts, and they had high praise for the MC74, saying, “The remarkably discreet desk telephone has a timeless design, offers high user-friendliness and is laid out for years of service.”
As part of the award, the MC74 will be featured in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen until 2018.
The Red Dot helps remind us that here at Meraki, it is important to keep building products with the end user in mind. Good design enables people to do work with less overhead, and that is the standard we strive towards in every product.
Administrators can now set custom schedules, and rest assured that callers will be directed based on when they are calling.
Let’s take Tony’s Auto Dealership as an example. During the day, Tony wants his customers to be able to call the dealership and learn about business hours, hear the deals of the month, or reach the service team. However, Tony knows that customers calling in at night are likely to need emergency assistance. To accomplish this, he sets up his Meraki Communications IVR to route to his normal message during work hours, and to route to an ‘office closed’ IVR with an emergency service line at night.
MC users can now set up any of these rules with just a couple clicks, all in the dashboard. Build schedules based on specific business needs, and empower callers to find the answers they’re looking for, as quickly as possible.
Following last week’s Systems Manager and MR news, MC has some exciting new developments as well. Starting today, Meraki Communications is available in Canada!
Canadian customers can begin a free trial of the MC74 by calling a Meraki rep. Every customer will get $20 of free SIP credit, which can be used to test out the system in their own environment.
Use MC and Dashboard to deploy phones in new locations—even a home office. Anywhere with an Internet connection can now have an enterprise-grade phone system, without the headache of setting up and managing a complicated PBX.
Since the launch of Meraki Communications last May, customers all over the world have been asking for the MC74. Our team has been hard at work scaling out the integrated experience of Easy Onboarding to different geographies, and we are excited to be able to deliver that same intuitive experience to Canada. It is important to us that customers are able to purchase phone numbers though the Meraki Dashboard, to ensure that the process of deploying a phone system only takes minutes, not months.
For more information, check out the MC Canadian Customer Webinar on Tuesday, March 21st at 10:00 am Pacific Time, or check out the MC Product Page.
E911, or Enhanced 911, is a system in North America that provides the caller’s phone number and physical address to the emergency responder when an emergency call is made. In the rest of the world, a similar feature is often called caller location.
For customers that like to be prepared in case of emergencies, Dashboard will now display the exact street address associated with each MC74. If there is a mismatch between what is configured in Dashboard and what the provider is reporting, the following error will appear. This way, IT administrators can ensure that locations are always up-to-date if 911 is called.
Default addresses can also be configured in Dashboard to update the network in bulk – this is handy when moving buildings, or adding to your deployment. This setting can be found under Network wide -> Configure -> General and will update all the phones in your network that do not have a customized address.
Just in time for the new year, the MC engineering team has been hard at work building exciting new MC solutions for different use cases. Today, for businesses that have receptionists or executive assistants, say goodbye to archaic attendant consoles, and hello to the improved MC74.
For customers that already have an MC solution, call into the Meraki support line to have these beta features enabled on your existing hardware, free of charge.
The MC74 can now make and receive calls on up to 8 lines, to manage all the different phone numbers that your business runs on. These lines can be set easily through the dashboard. All inbound calls will indicate which number they are calling, and outbound calls can use a simple drop-down menu on the dial screen to select which line to use.
For executive assistants that manage multiple high-priority lines, favorite contacts can be set and seen in a separate tab on the contacts page. This will also work in the phone portal.
Not only will Favorites provide quick access to specific priority contacts, the Presence feature will also alert you to the status of each of those contacts. If they are on a call, the presence button will turn red, and if they are open to a call, it will be green.
However, even if someone’s line is available, they themselves might not be. In this case, receptionists may want to do a warm transfer and ask if the person can take a call. To accomplish this, we’ve added the Ask to Transfer feature, which allows you to check in with the person you want to transfer to, and either transfer the call over or cancel the transfer if the person is busy.
Not all calls that come in are urgent, and sometimes the caller simply wants to leave a voicemail. In these cases, we’ve built a Send to Voicemail feature that allows you to transfer a call directly to the inbox of any other MC74 in your network.
Here in our San Francisco office, Meraki MC74s are all over the place. There’s one in every conference room—from our small meeting rooms to our large executive briefing center. MC74s are on employee desks, in test facilities, marketing labs, partner training labs, employee on-boarding labs, and more. We have about 350 MCs in our deployment, some of which are in the field with our sales specialists and engineers, but most of which are right here in the office.
This phone belongs to one of our hardware engineers, Nick. Our hardware team made and tested over 80 prototypes of the MC74 before deciding on this form factor. Did you know, the MC has an infrared sensor on the front to dynamically change the screen brightness based on the brightness of the room?
Eric (left) and Murray (right) giving a customer demo in one of our conference rooms with the MC74 in speaker mode. MCs also come with their own mounting kit, and can be easily mounted onto a wall in any environment when needed. Just push the hinge back on the stand, and it is ready to go.
A snapshot of one of our test lab phone racks. These phones run automated tests of new development software every day.
MC74s can connect to headsets through USB, 3.5mm or Bluetooth. For a full list of all of our supported peripherals, check out our documentation. On my desk, I use the USB port on the side of the MC to charge my phone and Kindle.
In a room designed for larger groups, an MC74 with a USB speaker plugin is a great solution. Here our design team discusses ideas with a coworker who is currently out of the office.
There’s a multitude of ways to use Meraki MC, request a trial from your Meraki sales rep and try it for yourself!
As the newest member of the Cisco Meraki Product Marketing team with just two weeks under my belt, I had the opportunity to unbox the brand new MC74. This most recent addition to the Meraki line-up brings an entirely new product category—VoIP—to our customers, further streamlining and simplifying the networking experience. Here’s a recap of my unboxing experience:
Unlike other VoIP devices, it’s clear the MC74 has been designed to appeal to the end user—not just the network administrator—right down to the packaging. The MC74 comes in a beautiful matte black box that displays a subtle image of the phone on top. Opening the box is straightforward, and its contents are arranged neatly, with the sleek black palette of the exterior continuing to the interior.
The MC74 is well-designed and sturdy, and good-looking to boot. It’s modern and sleek, yet subtle enough to blend into any office space. For those who might be concerned about the lack of a physical keypad for dialing numbers, fear not—the touchscreen feels great and is very responsive. It looks great too; the ambient light sensor ensures minimal tinkering with screen brightness and constant visibility. The team has even included a microfiber cleaning cloth in each package to ensure customers can keep their phones looking shiny and new.
On the technical side, the hardware team spent a lot of time and energy making sure the end-user experience matches the Meraki experience that network administrators enjoy with their Meraki switches, access points, and security appliances. The hook switch that’s typically found under the handset has been replaced by a more robust, not to mention more sanitary, IR sensor. Subtle magnetization helps the handset find its place on the dock while keeping its cord tidy. Physical volume and mute buttons ensure quick access to these important features when on a call. The whole device swivels forward and backward and can be wall-mounted without removing the base.
Ports are split into two main areas: the edge and back. On the back, you’ll find a USB port, along with network, passthrough and AC adapter connections, plus a reset button. Along the edge lives a 3.5mm headphone jack and a second USB port.
Meraki prides itself on the ease-of-use of its various products; and the MC74 is no exception. The phone took all of 3 minutes to unbox and connect, and thanks to PoE there’s no need for a separate power cord, as one ethernet cable provides network and power. For those who aren’t yet fully integrated into the Meraki ecosystem and don’t have PoE switch ports ready to go, we do have an AC adapter available as well. The package even comes with a mounting bracket (including a nifty built-in bubble level for OCD types) and anchors for those who’d prefer to wall-mount their devices.
Like all other Meraki hardware, the MC74 can be configured through the dashboard even before the device arrives on site, so as soon as my unit was plugged into the office network, it booted up right away and already had my name and a phone number assigned to it. Pretty slick!
Within minutes, the phone’s colored LED indicator (the same one that all Meraki products share) started flashing and its software had been updated. It might be worthwhile to note that, as with our other firmware updates, there is an option to delay this update to a time that’s more convenient for you, but when all was said and done, the entire setup lasted less than 10 minutes. And like our other devices, these automatic firmware and software updates provide a key advantage to users: Meraki engineers will continue to innovate and push the latest and greatest updates. Coupled with the touchscreen interface, this means each MC74 will always remain on the cutting edge of VoIP services.
Another key benefit of cloud connectivity reveals itself in the form of address book auto-population and integration with Google Apps. Since the Meraki office already had MC74’s installed, as soon as my phone came online, I had a full phonebook filled with conference room and desk-phone numbers. Combined with the simple, yet beautiful UI, being connected to the Meraki cloud management system made it easy for me to get up and running almost immediately, even as someone who had no prior familiarity with the product.
The MC74 integrates seamlessly into the existing Meraki dashboard. Similar to the other Meraki devices, the phone page will show you important information about each device, like serial number, IP address, MAC address, phone number, and more. This means the days of manually managing spreadsheets full of PSTN and VoIP devices are long gone.
Dashboard integration also provides access to Meraki’s suite of Live Tools: ping, throughput, screenshot, and blink LEDs, all remotely.
We can’t wait to get the MC74 into the hands of Meraki customers to see what this VoIP solution can do for them. I’m confident they’ll find the unboxing, setup, and usage as easy as I did. Some of our customers have been kind enough to help us beta test these for a couple of months now, and we’ll be sharing their stories here on the blog soon. Keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!